DIY Project: Stars Art Installment

August 30, 2013
Upon doing some decorating in our master bedroom during my 4 Simple Goals before 2013, I realised that the art that I had painted to hang over the bed no longer fit with the vision that I have for our bedroom. So I came up with a project that I called "The Art Installment" because it is art, but not in the classical sense, and I really could think up no other name to call it besides "The Star Project." Anyway, I had this thought floating around in my head of many stars hanging from a wire above our headboard, and the idea began taking shape.

Materials I Used:

Cereal Boxes
Fishing Line - 4lb tension
16 Gage Wire - or a bit thicker
Krylon Gold Spray Paint - Matte
Martha Stewart Crafts Florentine Gold Glitter and White Gold Glitter
Elmer's Clear Glue
Tiny Hole Punch

Once I had my collection of cereal boxes, the rest was quite simple. I printed off various sizes of stars, traced them onto the previously flattened cereal boxes, cut them out, and spray painted them gold. I did save out five stars that I put some glitter on to add something a little extra to the project -- so it wasn't all gold stars. It's a lot of work, but it's easy.

After the glitter was set, and the paint was dry, it was time to thread the stars onto the fishing wire. I laid the stars out on the floor of our bedroom to arrange them in the way I thought would look best on the wall. Once I was happy with the way it looked, I measured out the 16 Gage wire for the fishing line to hang from. Then I used the tiny hole punch to punch out holes at the tops and bottoms of the stars for the fishing line to feed through. I fed the fishing line through, looping it and tying it at the bottom of each star to make sure it wouldn't just slip down to the bottom, and then I attached each fishing line to the wire that I had pre-measured.

Once the art installment was hanging up on the nails, I had to do some adjusting to make sure the fishing line was in just the right place, the wire was not twisting every which-way, and the stars were hanging nicely. It took me a little while to get used to it after having paintings hanging there for three years, but I'm really pleased with how it turned out and the boy is fascinated by the stars.


Stereotypes: Little Boys and Little Girls

August 26, 2013
I can't say that I've pushed any specific interests on my son. I'm trying my best to keep the world open and let him know that there is nothing that he shouldn't show interest in. So it's made me wonder if there are things that little boys are generally just interested in, or if it's something that's pushed on them. It's hard for me to really know because I only have a boy, so the only little girl that I can compare him to is myself -- and I know that I was interested in a lot of things that the stereotypical girl wouldn't do, such as woodworking, playing sports, and hiking.

He asked to have his face painted like Spiderman. We have never watched the show, nor do we have anything Spiderman related in the house, but he knows who he is.

But, let me get back to my son. I find it interesting that my son points out motorcycles and construction equipment every time we are in the car or going for a walk -- he is in love with Bobcats and could stand and look at one for hours -- even though we've never really said anything about them other than what they are and what sounds they make. He has developed his own interest in those two things on his own, just as he has developed his own interest in doing art, dancing to music, building with blocks, and my nail polish. That's right, he likes my nail polish.

When I paint my nails, he often asks to have his done too.

Now, because of my job I know that it's important not to enforce stereotypes on children and let them develop their own interests without believing that something is just for boys or just for girls. If a boy wants to wear pink, let them wear pink. If a girl wants to play with a hammer and nails, let her play with the hammer and nails. It's is my job to open up a world of possibilities for the children that I work with, and let them play, explore, and discover who they are. This is the kind of world that I am trying to create for my son. Of course people will always have their opinions and laugh at the fact that he is wearing nail polish, but if I remain strong in those situations and teach my son that it doesn't matter what people think, then his world remains open and he will realise that it's filled with endless possibilities.


Recipe: Grilled Lemon Chicken

August 23, 2013
While my husband and I will use the barbeque any time of the year -- unless it is covered in 2 feet of snow -- Summer is the time when the barbeque really starts working over-time. In the past, I've only ever added salt and pepper to meat and then grilled them, but this year I wanted to start breaking out of the box because we were getting really bored with our dinners. Pinterest came in very handy. Any time I wanted to find something new to make, I'd usually find some really good recipes -- and almost always more than one that I wanted to try that day.

Grilled Lemon Chicken

Some of the recipes that we have tried this summer and really enjoyed are a grilled honey lime chicken breast, a steak marinade that reminds me of one my Mom made when I was younger, these BBQ pork chops, and these shish kabobs. But, one of my favourite recipes for chicken that I created myself is a souvlaki type recipe that I have added some extras to over the past couple of Summers with the help of my husband.

I Use:

Lemon Juice from 1 Lemon
Garlic Powder
Sea Salt
Parsley or Oregano 

Sorry, I don't have any specific measurements other than the use of 1 lemon. I usually just eyeball everything as I put the ingredients in a large Ziploc bag, mix it all around with the chicken, and let it sit for 30-60 minutes in the refrigerator. Then grill it up!

Have you been grilling a lot this Summer? What's your favourite recipe?


What I have Learned While Working With Young Children

August 20, 2013
There are a lot of things that I have learned from working with young children that have made me a better person, but there are a couple of things that I have realised recently that have made me more aware as a parent, especially because I see it in my own child.

He copies me when I take self portraits for the blog. Set up the camera, go to the wall.

1. Your child is essentially a miniature version of you.

I know I have mentioned something similar to this before, but that was more about being models of the manners that we would like to see in our child. What I'm about to talk about is pretty much the same idea, but on a much deeper scale.

I have noticed that if my son sees my husband do something -- even once -- he will imitate him almost immediately. He's done it a few times with some things that I've done, but I've really noticed it with things my husband does. It could be anything from a specific phrase that we say -- like when I told my husband to pick up the towels on the floor -- to an action that we take -- like when we throw a ball or toy, or clap our hands at the dog to make him stop doing something. Our child is right there copying what we do.

I don't know if most parents have noticed that their child is a mini version of themselves before, but usually if there is an unwanted behaviour I have found that fingers are pointed at the people and places other than the home that the child goes to regularly. I don't know how many times a parent has told me that they don't use curse words at home and their child must have gotten them from another child. I will openly admit that I curse around my child -- especially in the car. I know I shouldn't, and I really should check myself be he starts picking those words up, but I admit it. I know that it's something that I need to work on because I don't want that kind of language used casually by my child.

The younger years -- ages 1-5 -- are such important years where a lot of habits are ingrained into our personalities. After the age of 5, any habits that we have picked up are pretty much there for life, and it is incredibly difficult to change them. The younger years are also the time when we, as parents, are the most influential on our children. We are their world, and that is why they copy us and want to be with us all the time, and chances are if you call someone a "moron" while driving the car then your child is going to start calling people "morons" as well.

2. Does it really matter? Then let it go.

I learned several years ago from a behaviourist that used to come to my work place that we all have expectations of what a child should do, how they should play, how they should treat others, and how they should behave in general. But he taught me that sometimes our rules are pointless; he taught me to look at certain situations and say "Does it really matter?"

"Does it really matter that the ball is not staying on the grass area and being taken to the sandbox?" or "Does it really matter that my child is jumping in a puddle and isn't wearing rubber boots?" and when you really think about it, the answers to these questions are no. If it's not hurting anyone, or hurting the child, then is it something you should really worry about?

This way of thinking was something that I was working really hard on as a teacher before I became a parent, and now that I am a parent it's something that I regularly try my best to practice. If what my child is doing is not an imminent threat to his health and well-being, then what does it hurt to let him have control over the paint while he's doing an art project.

It's hard to let go sometimes, but it's important for him to learn things on his own and, you know what, I feel a lot more relaxed when I'm not that parent that's trying to control every aspect of my child's daily life. When I'm relaxed, everyone else around me is a lot more relaxed too.


On Broadway

August 19, 2013
I mentioned Broadway early last week, but want to tell you more about it as there is more to it than just the Fringe Festival. The Broadway Area is a very popular place in the city. It is where you can buy handmade noodles, organic soaps, beautiful furniture, as well as spices imported from Mexico, and then eat a delicious lunch while listening to a local band. It is a mish-mash of shops, restaurants, art galleries and theatres, and a wonderful place to go for a walk. Most every one in the city has a special place in their heart for Broadway, and each for a different reason.

A few of my favourite places on Broadyway are the Bulk Cheese Warehouse, Crave Cupcakes, Calories -- a restaurant that serves local food -- and The Better Good -- where I purchase a lot of my organic and socially responsible goodies. I discover new places and shops each time I go back -- most recently it was the market that sells goods imported from Mexico where I bought a Coke made with real sugar. I look forward to each trip I take to the Broadway Area.

Do you have a special area in your city?

In This Post:
Crave Cupcakes
Cate & Levi Hand Puppet
Unicorn Head Wall Mount
Table Lamp


Working With My Son

August 15, 2013
Being able to take my son to work with me is such a blessing. I'm so glad that I get to watch him in little daily moments that not a lot of working moms get to see outside of the time that is spent with her child in the mornings and evenings -- that happen in an entirely different setting. There are so many precious moments that I have been able to watch, especially when it comes to interacting with his peers. It melts my heart with how excited he is to see his friends when he walks through the door to his room.

But I also see the difficult moments. Yes, he does throw fits for his teachers -- no one is perfect -- and sometimes he has a difficult time leaving me behind when his group goes inside, but the moments that I have the most difficult time with, the ones that tug at my heart strings, are the moments when he really wants to play with someone and they don't want to play with him. It's hard for a mother to see that kind of thing, but as a teacher, I tell the children that I work with, including my son, that if someone doesn't want to play with you that you find someone else that wants to play with you, and I help them seek out a new playmate.

I love having my son at work with me, and I'm a bit anxious for the day that he goes off to school and is on his own, because neither of us really ever have been.


What I Wore: The Little Jean Dress

August 11, 2013

Dress: Mossimo for Target
Bag: JoTotes Rose Camera Bag
Shoes: Aldo
Earrings: Aldo


The Fringe: When Things Get A Little Strange

August 08, 2013
The Fringe Festival is the time of year when things around here start getting a little strange, but also very exciting. It's a street festival that shows off local talent as well as talents from around the world, and it's the only place where you can buy a cupcake and watch a man juggle fire while laying on a bed of nails, or a zombie bride wander the streets and take photos with children. It's the place where you can purchase the work of local artists that have set-up their wares, and it's the only time of year where you can walk down the middle of the street without being hit by a car. It's starting to becoming one of my favourite parts of summer.


To Be Fair at The Fair

August 07, 2013
Going to the local fair was an interesting experience this year. It was the kind of experience that makes parents never want to do things with their children again. It was the kind of experience where almost every moment was filled with a tantrum, and if it wasn't then a tantrum was soon to follow. I give my son credit, he actually did quite well despite not being able to go on certain rides because he was just a little too small, or he had to wait for us to get food for what sometimes felt like a very long time.

In retrospect, he didn't freak out quite as often as it felt like, and we were usually able to distract him with some other activity. It may have seemed awful in the moment, but I think my husband and I did quite well remaining calm on the outside and explaining things to our son. We understand how important it is for him to be in those situations so he can learn what to do in the future and how to act in public settings, but in the heat of the moment that all flies out of your head and the embarrassment creeps in.

Last year was quite a different experience, and I think we thought it was going to be like that again. He was quite a relaxed baby, but toddlerdom has brought frustration and much independence -- and frustration when he can't be independent. I know that I am not alone, and this experience has taught me to prepare my son more for these experiences. It's hard when you're not big enough or old enough to try something and you have to walk past it -- I remember what it was like and I probably threw a tantrum myself. It's hard when you're having fun and you have to get up and leave because it's time for someone else to have a turn. Everything is a learning experience, and I think my husband and I got a big lesson.


The Film Project: July

August 05, 2013
For The Film Project in the month of July, I really wanted to take more snapshots of nature so that I wouldn't bore you with the same old life photos -- which didn't end up happening. I have noticed that I am more documenting our family's summer through these photos than anything else. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but I guess I wanted to expand beyond my little world.

While I did take a lot more photos away from the house this month -- like at the Jazz Festival and the water park -- I have had these extravagant dreams of driving to a random field somewhere and snapping photos there. I am in love with the beautiful, dreamy photography that places people in settings where they wouldn't normally be. Maybe it's time to look beyond my horizon and put myself in those settings.


Fashion: What's Caught My Eye

August 02, 2013
I'm trying my best not to buy anything until I go on vacation, but I have been shopping a lot in my mind while browsing Pinterest. There are so many amazing ideas and pieces of clothing out there right now. I'm really excited with the direction that fashion is taking, I think it's made a lot of the right turns.

For now, my mind has been shopping for lace shorts, a seersucker blazer, leather sandals, an Aztec print skirt and a crochet top -- check out what else I love on my board Fashion, Ho! We'll see what I can find when I finally get to spend a little money!

What has caught your eye in fashion recently?

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